LRMC pushes for LRT-1 fare hike

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THE operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) continued to push for a P5 fare hike, saying this would allow the company to proceed with the construction of the train line’s extension to Cavite.

Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso said in a statement on Thursday the higher fare will push banks to extend loans for the Cavite extension project “knowing LRMC can recover its investment.”

“A P5 increase in LRT-1 fare will assure the construction of its extension to Sucat, Las Piñas and Bacoor, allowing at least 300,000 of residents each day to get to and from home in just minutes from Baclaran without traffic,” it said.

In March, LRMC filed its application to hike LRT-1 fares by as much as P7. The current fare is P15, P20 and P30, depending on distance traveled.

Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan told reporters on Wednesday the application is still being processed, and the public consultation has been postponed.

No fare hikes in the LRT-1 has been implemented since LRMC took over its operations and maintenance in September 2015.

LRMC is the private concessionaire of the Department of Transportation for the LRT-1. Part of its agreement with the government is the 5% fare increase every two years and the extension of the LRT-1 from the Baclaran station to Bacoor, Cavite.

When completed, LRMC said the Cavite extension will cut travel time from Baclaran to Sucat to 15 minutes; to Las Piñas to 20 minutes; and to Bacoor to 30 minutes.

“We are investing P5 for every P1 revenue to ensure that LRT-1 is efficient, trouble-free, and also clean. Today, trains come every 3.5 minutes, down from 5 minutes when LRMC took over operations and maintenance in 2015,” Mr. Alfonso added.

LRMC is the consortium of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group. — Denise A. Valdez